CasaCalma Hotel

Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina Book from

Reviewed by Clemmy Manzo
Relaxation, wellbeing and eco are the buzzwords at this modern oasis in the centre of Buenos Aires
The clue’s in the name. CasaCalma, with its clean lines in grass green and white, does indeed reflect a sense of tranquility - a glorious escape from the hustle and bustle of the Argentine capital. A stone’s throw from central Plaza San Martín in buzzy Retiro, and near many major sights and shopping spots, this boutique hotel is all about wellbeing and green living. The only certified eco-hotel in the city, it takes its environmental credentials seriously, right the way down to the sustainable wooden pencils.

On the ground floor, minimalist white chairs, woven fibre furniture and marble table tops create an unpretentious Scandinavian look, while little handwritten signs lend a homely feel. But better still are the 17 spacious rooms upstairs. Each is designed as an individual spa centre, with big Jacuzzis and Scottish 3-head rain showers to aid circulation; Deluxe Rooms have private saunas, too. Add big comfy beds, private yoga sessions and heavenly massages, and the shopping and sights nearby suddenly seem like too much hard work. Perfect for a recuperative first or last stop in Argentina - just don't be surprised if you check in and never leave the comfort and pure decadence of your own room.

Highs

  • Admirable environmental policies: the only eco-certified hotel in BA, built from sustainable materials and wrapped in plants which filter heat and save energy
  • Little extras: an underwater sound system in your Jacuzzi, umbrellas in your room, and a dedicated 'guest director' to show you how everything works
  • The in-room menu of pampering bath baskets (extra cost), featuring scented oils, salts and little treats such as champagne, sliced fruit or eye masks
  • The 'vertical garden' outside - foliage trails over your windows, making you feel cocooned in a green oasis, and a million miles from the city
  • Proximity to public transport, shopping, and historical and cultural sights

Lows

  • Only a glass partition separates your bathroom from the room
  • The wellbeing theme is somewhat undermined by a few dishes on the snack menu, such as hamburgers and pizzas, although they're house-made and the meats are organic
  • No outside space or pool. Seeing as its ethos is green living, it seems a shame not to have a garden, although there are plants throughout

Best time to go

CasaCalma is open all year, and often has special offers between March and July. Buenos Aires is best visited in spring (October/November), when the temperature is warm and the beautiful lilac flowers of the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. January tends to be very hot and humid (temperatures can reach 40C) and most of the porteños (locals) are away on holiday, so the city is quiet and there’s less going on.

Our top tips

Even if you’re in BA for a whistlestop, make time to indulge yourself: take a sauna, laze in your Jacuzzi and book a massage. Relaxing is almost the ‘point’ of the hotel, so missing out would be a real shame.

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Wellness Hotel
  • 17
  • Breakfast and lunch (+ restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Jacuzzi
Room: Superior Room

Rooms

The spacious rooms are designed as individual spa centres, and their main aim is relaxation. Green plants trail over the windows, partially obstructing the street views, and double-glazing, thick white curtains and huge, soft beds with crisp Egyptian linens and a pillow menu mean falling asleep is easy.

Known as Superior and Deluxe, the rooms are almost identical throughout, with clean lines and modern white décor with a splash of green. There are 3 differences between the categories: Deluxe Rooms are larger, and come with a small balcony and a private sauna.

All rooms have huge Jacuzzis complete with comfortable head-rests and, best of all, an underwater sound system with a CD player and radio built in. By the side are candles and a menu of bath baskets (extra cost) offering options like the 'Love Elixir Bath', 'Body and Soul' or 'Life Burst Energy'. All feature scented oils, salts and little treats such as champagne, sliced fruit or eye masks.

There are Scottish showers, too, with 3 shower heads, which are said to aid circulation but are rather complicated to use. By the glass-bowl basins, you’ll find a generous assortment of organic toiletries, but should you run out there’s a stash in the cupboard for purchase. This ‘boutique’ sells everything from eye masks to bath bombs and exfoliators.

When you’ve exhausted all the water and steam options, the home entertainment system will keep you busy: large plasma TVs, iPod docks and HiFis feature in every room, plus there’s a DVD library downstairs.

CasaCalma certainly takes its eco ethos seriously: the light wood floors and walls are all sustainable/certified wood and the swirly cream patterned wallpaper is imported from Italy, as there’s no environmentally certified wallpaper in Argentina.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Jacuzzi
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Pillow menu
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast and lunch are served in the small white dining room on the ground floor, which looks out onto glassed greenery. Breakfast is somewhat indulgent for a wellness hotel, with muffins, honey-glazed croissants and sweet dulce de leche, although there are cereals and fruit salad, too. There are also delicious juices made from herbs and exotic fruits native to Argentina.

Lunch is served until 3pm, with dishes such as whole-wheat spaghetti, salmon, risottos and lean cuts of beef; after that you can order from the 24-hour room service menu of house-made burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and salads. The food is organic where possible (including the meat) and CasaCalma’s head chef caters to any special requests.

Typical of the hotel’s feel at home philosophy are the 18 white boards that hang from the wall in the dining room, which make up the honesty bar: grab a beer from the fridge and just note what you took on your room’s board.

CasaCalma doesn’t offer dinner, but its location in the city centre means it’s easy to find somewhere good to eat. Restaurants include El Establo (Paraguay 489, just off Calle Florida), a classic steak house with uniformed waiters serving up arguably the best grilled meat in town. Or for a taste of Argentine pizza, try the hugely popular Pizzeria El Cuartito (Tacahuano, 937, 3 blocks from the hotel). It’s not smart, but heaves with locals every night of the week, with guaranteed atmosphere and good, cheesy pizzas.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Teatro Colon

Activities

  • Roll out your yoga mat (there’s one in every room) and unwind with a few downward dogs, or ask the hotel to book you a private yoga session led by a professional instructor

  • Book a massage: a range of wonderful rubdowns is on offer, including anti-jet lag, pick-me-up, specialised Shiatsu and Ayurvedic

  • Take advantage of the impressive DVD collection in the lobby

If you do manage to leave the hotel...

  • Walk down famous Calle Florida in search of Argentine leather goods. If you need a helping hand, let Casa Calma book you a personal shopper

  • If your Spanish skills are lacking, or you’re pushed for time, ask the hotel to book a tango show or theatre tickets for you

  • Staff can also arrange a day's adventuring in Tigre on Río de la Plata, where you can fish, kayak, birdwatch, sail and windsurf

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Performance
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome at CasaCalma and under 2s stay for free. The hotel isn’t particularly geared towards kids, however - it has no outside space, and young children wouldn't benefit from the Jacuzzis or saunas (though the large DVD collection might keep them entertained while you relax).

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly: Superior Room

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for CasaCalma Hotel